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there was a very close call with a massive astroid that whizzed by just 17,000 miles from our planet. in celestial terms, that's a very near miss. what do scientists make of all this? it was all one big cosmic coincidence. nbc's tom costello reports. >> reporter: the video from russia is incredible. a massive meteor traveling at 33,000 miles per hour, trailing a brilliant quite contrail, hitting the atmosphere and exploding with the force of an atomic bomb. [ explosion ] >> reporter: the shock wave over the city of chebarkul damaged thousands of buildings, knocked down a factory wall and blew out windows across the city in freezing temperatures just as kids were starting the school day. >> translator: the ceiling was okay. but all the windows were broken. almost all the window panes were damaged. there are no windows without
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damage. >> reporter: the shards of glass injuring more than 1,000 people, 100 hospitalized. >> i heard this extremely loud noise that shook my apartment. >> reporter: canadian hockey player, michael garnett, lives there. we talked to him via skype. >> it blew the vents out of my bathroom and there was debris on the floor. and i am up on the 23rd floor and i could feel the building swaying. >> reporter: pieces of the meteor punched a hole in a frozen lake, but missed a town in a nearby nuclear plant. linda specializes in meteorites at the smithsonian. >> these are the primitive materials left over from when the planets formed and are the basic building blocks of all of our planetary material. >> it's heavy. >> reporter: it is indeed heavy. >> reporter: in an amazing coincidence, an astroid half the size of a football field came whizzing by this afternoon. while the space station orbits 220 miles above the earth, this afternoon's astroid passed 17,000 miles above the earth,
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much closer than many satellites that orbit 22,000 miles out. >> an object as large as this passes by the earth we think on average about once every 22 years. >> reporter: two close calls today with the world wondering what would have happened if either one had hit a city. tom costello, nbc news, washington. >> neil de grasse tyson is an astro physicist and director of the haden planetarium. good to have you here. you're a man in demand today. >> thanks for having me on. yeah, apparently. >> we all have a lot of questions about this. what we saw in russia, first off. >> extraordinary. >> this is a big planet, mostly water. is this something that happens more often than we know? >> these blasts of that magnitude, there was one in the '90s that was an air blast above india and pakistan, right when they were negotiating nuclear control. and so that's a little worrisome, because one of them might have accused the other of a first strike. if you fill in the blanks with places these might have fallen where no one would have taken notice, like the middle of the
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pacific or over antarctica or the north pole or northern canada, i'm imaging you would get impacts of that magnitude anywhere between one, every five to ten years. >> and we should note, a lot of people have dashboard cameras. so those pictures we saw. let me ask you about this astroid that had the near miss today. 17,000 miles, very close. >> that's a buzz cut. >> here's what i've got to ask, half the size of a football field, had it hit us, catastrophic? >> oh, yeah. regionally catastrophic, no doubt about it. you saw what happened with that astroid in russia, the size of a large boulder. this one was much larger. it would hit with much more energy. and the energy has got to go somewhere. and in an air blast, there's heat, there is the posts of a compressive wave, basically a shock wave that can level buildings. you don't want that to happen over a city. and we're happy that most of our surface is ocean and most of earth's land is not inhabited. so you just sort of, you know, count your chances every time
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this happens. which is why i don't want to run away from these things. i want to deflect them. it would be nice if we had funding to do such a thing. but no such program in the world exists. >> that's another discussion. i could talk to you about this all day. we appreciate you coming by. >> excellent, thanks for having me. it's a good night tonight. finally for some 4,000 people trapped aboard a crippled carnival cruise liner for the past five days, back on land, some of them kissing the ground. a vacation they would rather forget. janet shamlian joins us from mobile, alabama tonight. janet. >> reporter: lester, good evening. almost 24 hours after the cruise ship docked, most passengers are finally home tonight. and along the way, they shared stories of a week they will never forget. the crippled cruise ship was towed away from the terminal this morning, where hours earlier passengers couldn't get off quickly enough. >> definitely. first and last cruise, yeah. never again. never with carnival. never again.
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>> reporter: anger mixed with relief. many happy, simply to be back on dry land. >> i am so excited just to be back home and to know that, you know, i could go take a shower in a little bit. i can go to the rest room in a little bit and not have to worry if there is water or not. >> reporter: 2,000 boarded buses for what sounded like heaven. clean hotel rooms in new orleans. but it seemed like a cruel joke for one group. halfway through the trip, their bus broke down. clark jones tweeted a photo. >> i don't know. life gives you lemons. i guess you have to eat the lemons sometimes. >> reporter: with cell phones recharged, passengers are now posting their video diaries. a play-by-play of conditions going from bad to worse. >> with the vessel now at a ship yard, the ntsb and coast guard will start their investigation into the fire that sparked the power outage. this is also where "triumph" will be repaired. it will be out of service for a month. and there may be other problems from the raw sewage on board. illnesses still a strong possibility. nbc's dr. nancy snyderman.
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>> when people get home, they're going to feel safe and and a complacent. but any nausea and vomiting and diarrhea over the next two or three days may be linked back to the exposure to sewage on the ship and that's a real worry for children and the elderly. >> reporter: as passengers started leaving new orleans, many felt compelled to thank the crew, who suffered alongside them. but continued to serve. >> it could have gone so wrong. had the crew not stepped up. and those guys worked nonstop. >> the crew was amazing. the staff amazing. management did not do a good job. >> reporter: the end of a vacation gone wrong, after their ship finally came in. investigators are here in mobile, as the investigation begins. there's also a massive cleanup job and repair job ahead. and as of tonight, carnival has cancelled all future cruises on the "triumph." back to you. >> janet shamlian, thanks. this vacation gone bad is raising lots of questions about what rights you may have and
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what rights you give up when you set sail on a cruise. already one passenger has sued carnival for failing to provide a sea-worthy vessel. if you're one of the hundreds of thousands who vacation on a cruise, what can you expect if things go wrong? nbc's gabe gutierrez reports. >> reporter: the nightmare is finally over for "triumph" passenger cheryl espe. it got to be bad. >> reporter: carnival will compensate her and her fellow travelers $500, a refund. transportation expenses and the free ticket. but this latest incident has raised questions about oversight of cruise lines and their passengers' rights. if you travel by plane, you're protected under what's called the passenger bill of rights, which, among other things, includes stiff fines for airlines that leave you sitting on the runway for hours. it also mandates compensation if you're bumped off your flight. but cruise lines are different. partly because passengers give up certain rights in their ticket contracts. for example, carnival is not liable for damages for emotional distress or psychological
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injury. except when caused by the negligence of carnival and resulted from physical injury. also, many cruise ships are registered in foreign countries and not subject to u.s. taxes and many regulations. the "triumph" is incorporated in the bahamas. >> this industry is unregulated because they have successfully hidden behind their foreign flags. >> reporter: in 2010, congress did pass the cruise vessel security and safety act, mandating better crime reporting at sea. but critics say it's not enough. >> there's no reason when a ship is mechanically deficient, operating out of the united states, that the united states cannot take action against the cruise lines. >> reporter: the industry says it has improved, implementing new safety policies following a string of disasters last year. like the cost of "concordia" and the cost of "allegra." >> this is already a heavily regulated industry. it's regulated at both international levels and national levels. and the enforcement occurs in
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multiple layers. >> reporter: dar says on any given day there are some 280 cruise ships on the open seas. carrying about 300,000 passengers. for those considering any kind of travel, the most important information may be in the fine print. gabe gutierrez, nbc news, atlanta. overseas now to the day in court for "the blade runner," oscar pistorius. months ago, he was making history at the olympics. today he broke down sobbing. prosecutors announced they plan to charge him with premeditated murder after the death of his girlfriend. nbc's michelle kosinski is in pretoria, south africa tonight, with the latest. >> reporter: oscar pistorius sobbed openly in court, buried his head in his hands as he heard the charge of murder read out against him. prosecutors called it premedicated. nbc's rohit kachroo was in the courtroom. >> reporter: he looked genuinely devastated.
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i sat four or five seats away from him. his father tried to embrace him and he just looked totally devastated. >> reporter: the victim was pistorius' girlfriend, reeva steenkamp, a model set to star on a tv show tomorrow. police say she was shot four times in the head and body with a .9 millimeter pistol. registered to history i couldn't say. a statement said the alleged murder is disputed in the strongest terms. pistorius wants to send his deepest sympathies to the family of reeva. her uncle spoke earlier today. >> the answer will come out. if you really believe in the law, that will come out. and we don't have to make any judgment. the judgment will be done then. >> reporter: initially, media reports suggested it might have been an accident, that she may have been mistaken for a burglar. last year, pistorius told "new york times" magazine he was concerned about intruders. >> he talked about a number of incidents in which he had to get his gun and come downstairs and see what the problem was. >> reporter: yesterday police dismissed the suggestion this could have been a case of
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mistaken identity, and said there had been domestic incidents there before, but wouldn't elaborate. among those coming to his defense, a friend who tweeted, "i have dated oscar on and off for five years, not once has he lifted a finger to me, made me fear for my life." >> oscar pistorius -- >> reporter: pistorius was widely admired but once lashed out after he lost a race at the paraolympic games. still south africa is stunned to see its hero, the first double amputee, to compete at an olympics like this. michelle kosinski, nbc news, pretoria, south africa. >> still ahead tonight, the outrage over what happened to thousands of women. they say they were raped. so why did the evidence sit on a shelf for years? now one woman is on a mission to get them justice. and later, an emotional day at the white house for some american heroes and the president who honored them.
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we're back now with the
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outrage tonight in detroit over what happened to thousands of women who say they were sexually assaulted. they reported a crime and wanted authorities to find their attackers. but they say the evidence in their cases sat on a shelf for years. until one woman came along who is now on a mission to get them justice. nbc's kate snow has our report. >> reporter: kym worthy is the kind of woman you really don't want to get angry. she is the top law enforcement official in the detroit area. but back in august of 2009, she was furious when one of her prosecutors told her what he discovered in this police evidence warehouse downtown. >> i saw numerous racks with cardboard boxes and they told me at that point, those were rape kits. i immediately then asked representatives, were they tested rape kits or untested rape kits? at that point, they said, uh, we don't know. >> reporter: rape kits used to collect dna from a victim in hopes they can identify a rapist. >> i have said you have got to
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be kidding me. what we were potentially looking at that time, was over 10,000 rape kits representing over 10,000 cases where women had reported, whose lives, and what happened to them was sitting on a shelf. >> reporter: worthy says the police chief at the time promised an internal review, but she didn't think that was enough. so she found volunteers on her staff to start sifting through the rape kits and get the dna tested. some cases were as old as 20 years. >> and we were literally blowing off dust and dirt off these books so we can open them up and see if we could find any information in these books that would match the rape kit. >> reporter: among the 11,303 kits was one from audrey polk who was attacked in her own home in february of 1997. >> yeah, that was the night when someone came into our house and i was violated. >> reporter: where were your
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kids? >> lying right next to me. >> reporter: 14 years after her rape, the dna in her kit had finally been tested, and they had found her assailant. she testified against him and he was sent to prison. >> i feel like someone has paid attention now. and it makes me feel a little better. >> reporter: we spoke with the detroit police officers who run the sex crimes unit now. neither was in charge back in 2009. >> do you understand the frustration that cases weren't handled for years, weren't tested? >> yes. >> yes. >> reporter: nbc news obtained a copy of an internal investigation done by the police. the document says in 2009, they randomly pulled 36 of the stored rape kits and found there were, quote, justifiable reasons for not testing those 36 kits. >> kym worthy questions the validity of that report but is now working with the police to test every single rape kit. >> i hope more than anything it gives hope to those women who were ignored, that we are working each and every day to try to fix things.
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>> reporter: it is a slow and expensive process, using grant money they have tested 600 of the kits so far. and in those, they have discovered 21 serial rapists. of all the cases, lester, most will not be subject to a statute of limitations. >> kate, thank you. you can see more of kate's report tonight on "rock center," at 10:00, 9:00 central here on nbc. we're back in a moment with the high-profile politician and his wife in big trouble with the law tonight.
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gun violence was back at the top of the president's agenda today as he awarded posthumous medals to six educators killed in the sandy hook school shootings. then he traveled to his hometown, chicago, where dozens of children are victims of gun violence every year. here's nbc's chief white house correspondent, chuck todd. >> that's what we honor today. >> reporter: the president today, wiping a tear as he posthumously honored those
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six teachers and administrators who lost their lives that fateful day in december. >> when they showed up december 14th of last year, they expected a day like any other. so they had no idea that evil was about to strike. they gave all they had for the most innocent and helpless among us. >> reporter: an emotional president hugging the mothers, fathers, daughters, husbands of those lost in the shooting tragedy. >> the presidential citizens medal is awarded to rachel davino, dawn hochsprung, anne marie murphy. lauren russo. mary sherlach. and victoria soto. >> reporter: the president has been using the emotion of newtown to build public support for gun control law. he did it tuesday in an unusual ending at the state of the union. >> gabby giffords deserves a vote.
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the families of newtown deserve a vote. >> reporter: this afternoon in chicago, a city that saw nearly 500 gunshot-related murders last year, the president noted nearly 70 of those victims were under 18. >> so that's the equivalent of a newtown every four months. >> reporter: for years, it's the nra that has used emotion to win big political battles. the president hopes the emotions of newtown change the equation. chuck todd, nbc news, washington. federal prosecutors today filed campaign finance charges against former chicago congressman jesse jackson jr. and his wife sandi. jackson has admitted to using $750,000 in campaign money to buy personal items, including a rolex watch, mink coats, furniture and even a hat once worn by michael jackson. his wife signed a plea agreement, admitting to filing incorrect joint tax returns. jackson apologized for his actions in a statement today. he faces up to five years in prison.
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valentine's day is a big one for romance, and getting engaged. but if you got a diamond ring this week and it came from costco, you might have been sold a bill of goods. the jeweler, tiffany & company sued costco yesterday for promoting some engagement rings as tiffany diamonds at a discount. but the jeweler says they have never allowed any of their products to be sold at costco. tiffany is seeking damages. no word yet on whether any happy couples are seeking refunds. we're back in a moment with a blast from the past and a major milestone this weekend.
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♪ the nbc television newsreel with paul ally, your commentator, bringing you late news, pictures, film by nbc cameramen at home and abroad. >> that's the way the news used to look around here, when the broadcast that eventually became this broadcast first went on the air 65 years ago tomorrow night. as we say good night, a look back now. that regularly scheduled network television newscast went on the air in 1948. it soon became the "camel news caravan" with john cameron swayze. and then in 1956, "the huntley-brinkley report."
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millions got their news from chet and david in 1970 on "nbc nightly news," first with john chancellor and then tom brokaw. and starting in 2004, our very own brian williams, whom i suspect tonight is off somewhere celebrating. 65 years and more than 12,000 broadcasts later, we're just getting started. that's our broadcast for this friday night. thank you for being with us. i'm lester holt in tonight for brian. i'll see you later tonight on "dateline." then tomorrow morning on "today," and then right back here tomorrow evening. i'm a busy guy. good night. good evening. thanks for joining us on this friday. i'm raj mathai. >> and i'm jessica aguirre. timid and shackled, the santa clara man accused of making death threats was in court today as prosecutors revealed the
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arsenal of weapons found inside his santa clara home. everything from bomb making materials to assault rifles. what's so unclear is why he had them and what, if anything, he was going to use them for. marianne favro is live at the home in santa clara. marianne, i understand authorities were back out there again today. >> reporter: they were for the third straight day. they scoured his home. you see behind me. they say they didn't find any explosives today but did find more evidence. and tonight basham faces ten felony counts. everett basham shuffled into superior court wearing ankle chains and handcuffs. he appeared very timid and did not enter a plea. he faces ten felonies including making threats against a public offici official. he is accused of e-mailing a death threat to state senator yee saying he would kill him if
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he didn't stop his work on gun control legislation. >> he stated he was a trained sniper and his e-mail detailed in a rather specific way certain weapons that he possessed and exactly how he was going to kill me. >> reporter: basham faces several weapons charges including having a long-range high-powered rifle and assault weapons. prosecutors say the weapons were found in his san a clara home. >> he is charged with three assault weapons which are illegal. in addition to that he's charged with two counts of forgery of a government i.d. >> reporter: that i.d. is believed to be a driver's license. today investigators from several agencies once again scoured basham's home looking for evidence related to the threat against yi and more explosives. they had discovered a handful of usable destructive devices which the bomb squad detonated. he faces several charges for having destructive devices. if he is convicted, he could face 12 years behind

NBC Nightly News
NBC February 15, 2013 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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TOPIC FREQUENCY Nbc 10, Us 4, Basham 3, Chicago 3, Russia 3, Costco 3, Nbc News 3, Washington 2, City 2, Detroit 2, Pretoria 2, Tom Costello 2, Janet Shamlian 2, Jackson 2, Chuck Todd 2, Michelle Kosinski 2, Gabe Gutierrez 2, New Orleans 2, South Africa 2, United States 2
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